Urban League bringing civic engagement festival to London

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X
Urban League bringing civic engagement festival to London

A world renowned festival that celebrates civic engagement and community building is coming to London this summer.

The Urban League of London is establishing the 100In1Day festival here June 3. The goal is to execute 100 events in 1 day.

“The 100In1Day festival is a brand new enterprise here in London, but it’s something that’s been going on for quite some time in other cities,” says President Wes Kinghorn.

“The idea is that we’ll have 100 events happening in 1 day; this can be anything from as small as a cafe in your front yard, to a full on porch concert. The limits are only in your own imagination.”

So, where did the idea for something like this come from?

“It started in Bogota a few years ago, and it’s since spread to 28 cities around the world. It’s happened very organically for people in the city; they wanted to express themselves,” says Kinghorn.

“As it moves to each city, it takes on a little bit of a different flavour; each city expresses it in a different way.”

To Kinghorn, it’s all about giving back to the community. And with this festival, he wants to reach even more people.

“Lately we are trying to diversify the groups that we represent and speak for. Part of 100In1Day for us is to reach out to those communities in the city that we haven’t traditionally been as good at reaching,” he says.

“We’re looking to reach cultural communities, arts communities, and fold them all into our umbrella to do a better job of representing the city as it looks today.”

The festival is part of the London Plan, the future playbook for city-building over the next twenty years in the city.  The Plan was created after an extensive two-year conversation with Londoners about their goals for London’s future – to the year 2035.

Heather McNeely has worked closely with the London Plan; she’s been with the city for 28 years. Her aspirations are the same as Kinghorn’s—to engage all Londoners.

“What we’re trying to do is get a broad and diverse connection with the community,” says McNeely.

“We’ve done this in many different ways, and instead of people coming to us, we went to where people were; we went to festivals, went to events, did workshops, and even cooked people dinner.”

The London Plan, and the 100In1Day festival, are about Londoners, and it’s important for McNeely to give back to the community.

“We went to over 88 events, and then with the London Plan itself we went to even more,” she explains.

“We were at over 100 events just to speak to Londoners. The more we collected just one more person was one more than we had before; we wanted to reach out as much as possible.”

As Kinghorn and McNeely both stress, working closely with neighbourhoods in London is of crucial importance. Kinghorn is happy that the civic engagement festival is intertwined with the London Plan.

The 100In1Day festival will reach the streets of London on June 3. And with 100 events that day, there will be something for all Londoners to get engaged with in their city.

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